Contrast Bath Therapy

Contrast Bath Therapy

What do you think of when you hear the word bath? Is it a tub full of bubbles? A relaxing experience? At Backs in Action we recommend our patients to take a bath to improve circulation and extend the benefits of their treatment. There are many different types of baths you can take, whether it be for injury treatment, relaxation or to reduce inflammation.

Part one of this blog series focuses on Contrast Bath Therapy!

Hot/Cold Immersion Therapy: Contrast Bath

  • Aka “Hot/Cold Immersion Therapy”
  • This is a form of treatment where you repeatedly immerse a limb or your entire body in warm water followed by immersion in ice water, alternating between the two.

How does it work?

  • Warm water increases blood flow/circulation and cold water decreases blood flow in the limb or body.
  • Lymph vessels also relax/expand in response to heat and contract/constrict when exposed to cold
    • This causes a pump like action moving stagnant fluid in the area thus reducing inflammation


  • Reduces swelling around injuries
  • Speeds up recovery after exercise, for example post treatment following a long distance half-marathon run.

How to make a contrast bath

  • Use a tub or a bucket depending on the size of the area on the body you wish to submerge
  • Fill up 2 tubs or buckets; one with ice water and the other with warm water
  • Immerse your limb or entire body in ice water for 3-5 minutes and then switch to warm water for 3-5 minutes
    • Perform for 20-30 minutes
    • End with a cold bath as it reduces inflammation providing pain relief and decreasing muscle soreness and swelling.

Conditions Treated?

  • Mild muscle strains
    • Tennis elbow
    • Ankle Sprains
  • Post-exercise muscle soreness
  • Marathon Runners
    • Helps with plantar fascia swelling

Related posts: Running InjuriesPlantar Fasciitis, Shin Splints

Stay tuned for Part 2: Epsom Salt Water Baths!

In the meantime, come in for a massage treatment with our Registered Massage Therapists at Backs in Action. Massage treatments help increase blood flow and improve circulation.

2917 Hebb Avenue Vancouver BC

Phone: 604-876-9977                 Email: